14 Dec 2009


Penultimate round 6.
It will take a lot to unseat Carlsen from the top spot now:
Two wins for Kramnik and two draws or less for Carlsen.
With the opponents to come, that is a little unlikely.
However, Michael Adams should never be underestimated.

E46 Nimzo-Indian Rubinstein


11.....c5 leading to exchanges, except when Carlsen is White, when we can expect something unusual: 12.g4 first, if he goes for the exchange at all, which now could expose his pawn on =e3.
12...h6, No hurry to reposition the Knight on =g6=, as it is unlikely that Carlsen will push the g-pawn even further at this stage, which would leave the kingside weak. Besides, there is no attractive spot for this Knight to go to at the minute and h6 gives this Knight a bolt-hole should the white g-pawn start marching.

Compare this to the board after 6.a3 rather than the rare choice of the text: 6.cxd5:

It works out the same.

14.Ng3 again one of those Carlsen moves that I cannot understand until a few moves afterwards. Unless he wants the other Knight on =e2= and then do his "Ring around the Rosie" trick again.


They have each used half an hour.

15.f4 could lead to Nc7 16.g5 Nh7 17.h4 Qd7 18.Nh5 g6 19.Nf6+ NxN 20.gxN Qe6

What a smooth climbing sequence that would be fun. We shall see.
Maybe 18.Nh5 is pushing it: 18.gxh6 g6 would justify the white Knight on =g3= at move 14.

84 vs 76 mins left. That's good going, compared to Carlsen's round 5 game.

Oh well, different tack: Adams leaves his Knight on the rim and moves the Rook instead.

Now, after 16.g5, where is that Knight going to go: =h7= or =e4=?

Adams is /used to be renowned for never doing any prep. Is that what he is doing now? Xtra long think here by Black.
72 vs 48 mins left

They've ripped the heart out of the game: now only a shell left.


19.Qg4 g6? Now?? Is that wise??

Black must think that beating White to the =g6= square is a good move. I don't agree. Not at all I don't. I so wanted Adams to take d4. Let White have the =g6= square: no worries then.

Actually: the engine agrees with Adams. Sorry Sir. Didn't mean it.

Now the kingside looks congested and White might as well start nibbling at the queenside with b4 or some such move. Or is the exchange on =e4= still better?

They are totally equal now, as long as Adams plays 22...Rc2
Let White take that dim rim Knight. No matter.

Adams surely must go for the rep draw
. What on earth does he expect?? To win this??

Finally. Thank goodness: he goes for Rc2.
Can Carlsen wriggle out of it? Don't think so. Not without serious loss.
Still. Carlsen tempts him with Qf3, rather than Qg4, but the advantage for Black is not enough to make him stray from the rep line.

Besides, Adams is rather laid back and usually chooses the easy way out.

Quite a psychological battle going on here with those innocent looking moves.

This is an absolutely delicious moment in the London Classic. This alone was worth staging it for.
What am I saying: the best moment in the past few years of chess.

Adams eschews ( I love that word) 25...dxe3, the possibly rich vein, but doesn't go for the basic drawing line either: 25..Bf8

So what have we here now? 25...Bc5 eliciting 26.Qf4 again or 26.Re2

Too rich for my blood. I'm going to sit back and wait and see.

Adams is being bamboozled and falls between two stools. Oh what a pity.

After 28.Rf2, Adams can no longer draw nor is dxe3 worth anything any longer.

But... Carlsen misses 28.Rf2 and prolongs the agony by going Qf4, again tempting Adams to go for a win. As if....
But as usual, Adams doesn't stick to his plan.

I give up.


The game continued with Adams being pressed for time around the 40-moves and finally ending in a drawn out draw.
Elegant chance missed in my view, but at least Adams didn't lose the plot and give Carlsen an undeserved win by fluffing it.

Now the 'Spitzenreiter' has a job to do today: he must win or hope that Kramnik doesn't. They are both black today, but Kramnik has the tougher opponent. Still, one never knows.

Game board to play through with all the variations, will be here in 30 minutes.

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